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Luuk de Jong talks Messi, Xavi, Barcelona stint: “They sang my name at Camp Nou”



Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, PSV Eindhoven striker Luuk de Jong opened up on his short stint with FC Barcelona, stating that he was proud of his time at the Catalan club.

De Jong arrived at Barça in the summer of 2021, joining on a season-long loan deal from Sevilla. It was the same window during which the Blaugrana had waved goodbye to club legend Lionel Messi while Antoine Griezmann had also left for Atletico Madrid.

De Jong had enormous shoes to fill in attack, but the Netherlands striker clarified that he was never brought in to replace Messi at the Catalan club.

“That was very strange. Of course I was not brought in as his direct replacement. No one can replace that man. I came there as a target man. But I was actually sitting at his place in the dressing room. That was nice,” said De Jong.

De Jong was signed with fellow countryman Ronald Koeman as the manager of Barcelona. However, a couple of months into the season, the Dutch tactician was sacked and replaced by another club legend Xavi Hernandez.

De Jong did not play much under Xavi initially and confirmed that the manager had indeed told him that he could leave the club in January, but he opted to stay and contribute.

“After that I scored some important goals, mostly headers. At one point they sang my name at Camp Nou at every corner or free-kick. You wouldn’t think it gets better than that. I am very proud of that,” he remarked.

In all, De Jong finished his year at Barcelona with a tally of seven goals and an assist from 29 goals, playing his part in helping the team finish second in La Liga.

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